KPA moves to tighten grip on growing regional business

The kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has tightened its grip on the growing Rwandan and Congolese markets by opening a representative office in Kigali.

The kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has tightened its grip on the growing Rwandan and Congolese markets by opening a representative office in Kigali.

The development comes at the time of an upsurge in Rwanda and the DR Congo-bound cargo passing through the Port of Mombasa.

About 260,000 tonnes of Rwandan goods went through Mombasa last year, up from 226,000 tonnes handled in 2011, Gichiri Ndua, the KPA managing director, said during the official opening of the Kigali office over the weekend.

The new office, situated on the Grand Pension Plaza, was launched by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, Michael Kamau.

The Kigali office will act as KPA springboard into neighbouring Burundi and the DR Congo, where business prospects are also looking up. For example, cargo volumes to the DR Congo grew from 355,000 tonnes in 2011 to about 480,000 tonnes last year.

Worried of losing some of this lucrative market to a competitor, Dar-es-Salaam Port, Kenya has lately stepped up efforts to improve infrastructure at Mombasa to ensure faster and efficient clearing of goods destined to its landlocked neighbours.

“We are here [in Kigali] to do business…we mean business. Our goal is to ensure that the Port of Mombasa remains competitive and the main port serving the East African region,” Kamau said.

Kamau said Kenya expected cargo volumes destined for Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and the DR Congo to increase in the near future as economic activity in these countries expands.

“Rwanda’s economy is growing and the population is also increasing. With the discovery of oil in Kenya and Uganda, there is going to be a lot of economic activity in the region,” he observed.

The Kigali office will handle all issues concerning Rwanda’s import and export cargo that passes through Mombasa, Ndua said.

He added that importers would be able to pay part fees in Kigali and have their goods cleared for onward transit to their destination.

“This will eliminate the need to travel to Mombasa to pay port fees,” Ndua noted.

“The liaison office in Kigali is sort of a way of bringing the port closer to users. It will also help clarify issues as they arise among the business community in this country,” he said.

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